Monday, April 09, 2007

The United States of Leland

(Movie Review)

I’m not sure if this was a great movie or not, but I’ll say this for it: it certainly held my interest while I was watching it.

There are a lot of wheels spinning in this story at once. There’s Leland, the mild mannered 16 year old boy who is in jail for killing a mentally impaired child, there is his teacher, an aspiring writer who thinks that writing a book about Leland might be his big break, there is his father, a famous novelist who hasn’t seen his son in years, there is his former girlfriend, a relapsed drug addict, and her sister, and her sister’s boyfriend, who now lives with their family after his own mother died, and as all of these wheels are turning, the question of why such a nice kid like Leland would commit such a horrible crime is slowly answered.

Throw in a cool post-Tarantino esque out of order story line, and then add Don Cheadle (the teacher) and Kevin Spacey (the father), two of the best under-rated actors, and I’d say you’ve got yourself a film. Whether it means anything when all is said and done is, however, another question.

I should probably give this film another watch and think about it a bit more, but off-hand I’d say the philosophy in this film struck me as shallow and fortune cookie-esque. And I’m not sure all of the events in this film entirely made sense.

Of course I guess the filmmakers would argue that the whole point of the film is that human nature doesn’t really make sense. But does this at some point just become an easy out for a plot with loose ends in it?

I guess until I watch the film again and reflect on it further, I’ll just leave it at that.

Useless Wikipedia Fact
It was The Wolf Man that introduced the concepts of werewolves being vulnerable to silver (in traditional folklore, it is more effective against vampires), the werewolf's forced shapeshifting under a full moon, and being marked with a pentagram (a symbol of the occult and of Satanism). These are considered by many as part of the original folklore of the werewolf, even though they were created for the film. Unlike the werewolves of legend, which resemble true wolves, the Wolf Man was a kind of hybrid creature. It stood erect like a human, but had the fur, teeth and claws of a wolf. There had been similar depictions of werewolves in several earlier movies but this was by far the most influential, and subsequent movies have built on this image.

Link of the Day
Pentagon Officer Created Phony Intel on Iraq/al-Qaeda Link

The United States of Leland: Movie Review (Scripted)


Anonymous said...

Hey Joel, interesting stuff. Andy Court here. Question... Where abouts in Japan are you living now? The agency really wants to know... Sounds like you are having fun. Tasmania Rocks!!!

Joel Swagman said...

Andy, great to hear from you.
After a couple years up in Gifu, and 8 months back in the states, I am once again back in Oita, at Nakatsu